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We Need a Mobile QB

+19 HS
OnPoint's picture
November 26, 2023 at 8:52am

I recognize that there has been a flurry of posts on how to fix OSU’s woes against top-tier competition. My intention is to look at this situation from a more analytical perceptive. Instead of looking at the game played yesterday in isolation, we need to look at Day’s entire tenure at OSU. To keep the discussion narrow, I will only focus on one problem in this post: QB's immobility.

QB runs are essential in college football. Those runs account for a couple of opportunistic third-down conversions, improve the TD conversion rate in the red zone, and force the defenses to devote resources to stop the QB run. Since Fields left, we simply have not run our QBs enough and/or have not recruited mobile QBs. Even with Stroud, who was a capable athlete, we never involved him in the run game with the exception of the Georgia game.

Here is the data I have accumulated on the QB from top-8 teams in 2023. The yardage includes sacks, which complicates the analysis a bit, but it is clear that McCord is the least mobile QB among the top eight teams.

QB rushing statistics from top-8 teams in 2023
Player Team Carries Yards TD
Beck Georgia 47 104 3
McCord OSU 31 -62 0
McCarthy Michigan 47 164 3
Penix Washington 23 -5 3
Travis (11 games) FSU 73 173 7
Nix Oregon 47 159 6
Ewers (10 games) Texas 48 15 5
Milroe (11 games) Alabama 108 332 12

This is not just a 2023 phenomenon; OSU had one of the least mobile QBs in 2021 and 2022 as well. I recognize that Day does not want to risk injury, considering that Fields was hobbled in both the 2019 and 2020 playoffs. But the reality of college football is that QB legs give the team a distinct edge. Now, let's consider all the games that Day has lost as HC and take a look at rushing numbers from QBs on both sides.

QB rushing statistics in Day's losses as HC
Game Player Carries Yards TD
19 Clemson Lawrence 16 107 1
  Fields (injured) 14 13 0
20 Alabama Jones 4 11 0
  Fields 6 67 0
21 Oregon Brown 10 65 0
  Stroud 5 -3 0
21 Michigan McCarthy 3 21 0
  Stroud 6 -30 0
22 Michigan McCarthy 6 27 1
  Stroud 2 -3 0
22 Georgia Bennett 7 -18 1
  Stroud 12 34 0
23 Michigan McCarthy/Orji 6 39 0
  McCord 1 -3 0

In 5 out of 7 of losses, the opposing QB outrushed Day's QB. In the 2020 (Alabama) and 2022 (Georgia) games where we did outrush the opposing QB, our defense played so poorly that it did not make a difference. For reference, Fields outrushed Lawrence in 2020 by 42 to -8 yards.

Now let’s look at OSU's QBs with Day as head coach.

QB rushing statistics under Day
Year Player Carries Yards TD
2019 Fields 137 484 10
2020 Fields 81 383 5
2021 Stroud 32 -20 0
2022* Stroud 47 108 0
2023 McCord 32 -65 0

*Footnote: CJ Stroud’s 2022 numbers are deceiving. He ran the ball effectively against Georgia and had a couple of big runs against Northwestern, the game played under 30+ mph wind. Otherwise, he was not effective in running the ball.

Here is a mind-boggling statistic, OSU’s QBs had only one rushing TD in the last three years, and that came from the backup QB (Devin Brown) in 2023.

This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

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